Bernardo Pasquini (born December 7, 1637, Massa in Val di Nievole (now Massa e Cozzile, in the province of Pistoia, Tuscany, Italy) – died November 21, 1710, Rome, Italy) was an Italian harpsichordist, organist and composer of operas, oratorios, cantatas, motets, arias, suites, toccatas, variations and sonatas. A renowned virtuoso keyboard player in his day, he was one of the most important Italian composers for harpsichord between Girolamo Frescobaldi and Domenico Scarlatti, having also made substantial contributions to the opera and oratorio. Today Pasquini’s name is still primarily associated with his keyboard works and his fame as a virtuoso, a substantial part of his output was devoted to vocal music. Most of his cantatas are chamber works, for one voice only, and secular in content.
Bernardo Pasquini was born in Massa in Val di Nievole (now Massa e Cozzile, in the province of Pistoia, Tuscany) in Italy, on December 7, 1637.
Pasquini attended the school at Uzzano, near his birthplace. When Pasquini was 13, he moved to Ferrara with his uncle Giovanni Pasquini. He had settled in Rome by 1650, and Pasquini lived there for the rest of his life. He was a pupil of Antonio Cesti and Loreto Vittori.
Pasquini came to Rome while still young and entered the service of Prince Borghese. In 1661-1663, he became organist of Santa Maria in Vallicella (Chiesa Nuova). Pasquini obtained the position of organist of the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore and Santa Maria in Aracoeli from February 1664 until his death. Finally, after ten years in Rome, in November 1667 he entered into a long period of service of the Borghese family, enjoying the patronage of Prince Giovanni Battista Borghese, and, from May 1693, his son and successor, Prince Marcantonio Borghese. He enjoyed the protection of Queen Christina of Sweden, in whose honour an opera of his, Dov’e amore e pieta, was produced in 1679. It must have been an inspirational concert in Rome when the virtuoso keyboard performer, Pasquini, paired with the virtuoso violinist Corelli for the first time. Later they both appeared in concert together in other European cities as well.
Pasquini died in Rome on November 22, 1710, and was buried in the church of St Lorenzo in Lucina.
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